The history of the Western diet is a unique story. Humans transitioned from a life in nature to the life in big cities and human diets changed.
The “western diet” is one of the things that made the biggest impact on human health. The history of the western diet is what we’ll explore today.
What isThe History of the Western Diet?
The western diet is characterized by the high intake of red meats, pre-packaged food, fizzy drinks, butter, candy, sweets, fried foods and even high-fructose corn syrup.
These foods (besides meats), are products that focus on satisfying your desire for taste, rather than keep you satiated.
The majority of foods on the list of the western diet, are poor in nutrients and suboptimal for your health.
The structure, balance and composition of some of the most essential nutrients for the body have been fundamentally changed. Foods and food-processing methods were implemented during the neolithic and industrial periods.
The Dangers of the Western Diet
Researchers found that consuming a typical western diet for just one week, can impair brain function and lead to overeating and binging.
And those effects were observed in otherwise healthy people that have no bad habits!
Again, in just 7 days the high processed fat & sugar western diet, had substantial impact on memory.
Furthermore, the volunteers, all of which were in their 20s, reported that they started preferring the junk food-based diet, over whole foods.
The conclusion the scientists reached in this study– the western diet makes it harder for people to regulate their appetite.
This is perhaps because of the diet’s effect on the hippocampus. This is the part of your brain that regulates memory and is involved in the utilization of hunger signals.
Richard Stevenson, a psychology professor from Sidney, states the following:
“After just a short period of eating a western-based diet, the ‘tastier’ junk foods become the preferred option, even after you already had a meal. This makes it harder to resist those foods, making you eat more and inevitably creating a vicious cycle of overeating and excessive calorie consumption.”
How To Regulate Your Appetite
Throughout human existence, our bodies have seen long periods of scarcity. This is why the history of the Western diet is imporant!
This made the body create certain mechanisms, which allow us to slow down the metabolism and survive with less food.
These are the “metabolic adaptations”, which the body knows very well how to utilize, because it knows that the lack of food is possible.
However, the opposite isn’t valid – Throughout human history, we’ve never had such an abundance of foods as we do now.
It has only been a couple of decades since we’ve had easy access to any food and many, newly introduced, processed foods.
Because it has only been a couple of decades, the body has not yet had the chance to adapt to this! We haven’t adapted!
THIS is why, many people gain excess weight. This is also the exact reason why the majority of people in the USA are obese.
However, there are two things you can do to mitigate the effects on appetite that are manifested with the typical, processed food, western diet.
Both of these things are linked to making nutritional choices, so let’s see what you can actually do!
#1 Eat MEAT & Organs!
Though nowadays food is a type of recreation and something to enjoy, for most of human existence, food meant survival.
As we did not have such an abundance of products at easy access, we were naturally looking for the most satiating foods that can make us full for the longest period of time.
And guess which those foods are… That’s right, animal foods!
Generally, if you want to minimize the chance of overeating and binging on crap food, you are best off focusing on nutrient-dense foods.
With protein & fat being the two most satiating nutrients, we can easily conclude that meats, organs and other animal products are the most satiating foods one can eat.
The reason why you overeat processed, junk food, is because you did not give the body enough quality food. You don’t feel satiated!
Try placing animal products at the core of your nutrition and see if you’re still going to have the same desire for junk foods.
In doing so however, you will need to pick quality meats – Resort to grass-fed animals, which are well-grown.
To find such products, you would need to reach out to small and medium-scale farming businesses, which do not mass-produce meat.
#2 Eat Fruits & Veggies
Fruits & veggies don’t provide a lot of protein and fats, but they contain fiber. They also usually take up a lot of space in the stomach.
Including good amounts of fruits and veggies in your nutrition will make you feel fuller, for longer.
On top of that, replacing processed sugar foods with fruit is one of the best choices.
The more you do this, the sweeter the taste of fruits will become. Soon, you’d prefer a mango or a pineapple, to nutella or chocolate.
Last but not least, you can also make use of potatoes!
Though they do not contain substantial amounts of proteins and fats, potatoes are the food that has the highest satiety index.
Have a steak with potato mash and some veggies and see how that affects your satiety!
Granted, you won’t even think about binging on junk food.
The typical western diet contains a lot of processed foods, sugars, processed fats, fizzy drinks, deep fried foods, etc.
All of these foods are poor in nutrients, They are unable to provide the essential nutrients your body needs so they have a poor effect on satiety.
The bad thing is that the brain gets hooked on those foods, making them a priority choice because of their addictive taste.
What you can do however, is focus on nutrient-dense, satiating foods and placing them at the core of your nutrition plan.
This doesn’t really mean you should totally exclude your favorite junk foods! It means you should have the balance in favor of nutrient-dense foods that will make you feel satiated.
Eat foods that keep you satiated and your body will thank you!